7 Beneficial Questions for Your DEI Discussion Panel

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What are diversity and inclusion questions?

Despite appearing simple on the surface, the concept of diversity, equity, and inclusion is a complex process that prompts questions for many. Decision-makers and executive leaders must answer how they plan to implement diversity and inclusion efforts. 

Likewise, HR professionals must answer questions about hiring those with disabilities, different ethnicities, and people of color without tokenizing anyone. Plus, DEI task forces face questions about responsibilities. 

In this article, we explore seven beneficial questions your DEI panel should discuss at their next meeting. These questions contain a gold mine of information and actions everyone can take to make noticeable progress on DEI goals. 

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7 Questions for Diversity, Equity, and Inclusion Panel Discussion

Diversity, equity, and inclusion are becoming more significant aspects of workplace cultures in organizations worldwide. Experts in webinars, podcasts, books, and news outlets face questions about DEI initiatives and their practical applications. Here are several common questions and answers with actionable steps you can take today to make a difference in employees of all backgrounds. 

1. What is the best piece of advice for getting started with DEI initiatives?

Building an inclusive culture won’t happen overnight, and working on several initiatives at once can be overwhelming or even unproductive. That’s why it’s best to start small. Pick a minor initiative or aspect you want to focus on and start there. 

Little changes that you can make will set the stage for more significant initiatives down the line. These changes can be using pronouns in emails, offering a flexible holiday schedule, or enforcing inclusive language in the office. 

Also, don’t be afraid to ask for help from other organizations or professionals. By working with someone who went through the process, you can avoid some of the pitfalls of implementing inclusive workplace initiatives.

2. How do we get the entire company on board with DEI initiatives?

Workplace culture requires buy-in from the executive team to the entry-level team members. You can create this buy-in and generate awareness through data from authoritative sources, such as McKinsey & Co. or the BLS. 

Use these reports and internal statistics to clearly show where your diversity, equity, and inclusion stand. With a clear understanding of your workplace culture, you can take actionable steps to support initiatives. 

Make DEI a priority in the way you speak and interact with others. Systemic changes, such as altering the corporate language to be more inclusive, need to come from the leadership team. Without leadership effort, the rest of the team won’t follow suit. 

Give your leadership team the best in DEI education with CoachDiversity Institute. Our executive programs give leaders everything they need to implement systemic changes in their workplace culture. Book an executive leadership training program today to learn the essential skills! 

3. What would you consider to be the most challenging thing about implementing a DEI program?

Several DEI panelists agree the most challenging aspect of implementing a DEI program is maintaining patience. Impactful change doesn’t happen overnight, and it’s easy to get discouraged when your employee experience improves slowly. 

There are some ways you can support DEI initiatives while they take time to unfold. Get to know the people you are asking to support these initiatives. Some will resist change, and it’s vital for success to get to know everyone’s viewpoints on a personal level. 

Be sure to give yourself and the organization room to grow. Initiatives that work for one company may not work for another, but if you learn from your mistakes, don’t give up, and continue to refine initiatives, you will find the solution that works for you. 

4. What types of responsibilities does your DEI task force take on?

Fostering a diverse, equitable, and inclusive work environment depends on the work of your DEI task force, which can break down into two essential types of responsibilities. These responsibilities include internal and external work. 

Internal responsibilities are actions and activities the individual does that support workplace diversity, equity and inclusion. This internal responsibility involves speaking up for underrepresented groups and using inclusive language to support initiatives. 

External responsibilities of the DEI task force are everything that is employee or customer-facing. That includes reviewing policies, recommending changes, creating proposals, implementing best practices, supporting inclusive talent acquisition, and organizing events. 

Your DEI task force should have up-to-date knowledge of best practices. Ensure every individual has that knowledge by providing them with a CoachDiversity Institute training program designed to teach necessary skills for influential DEI task forces. 

5. How do we launch and grow employee resource groups?

Top diversity-supporting organizations leverage employee resource groups (ERGs) to support diverse groups of people. Employee involvement can spur action, but you can formalize ERGs through your HR department and with these essential steps:

  • Define the purpose, mission, and scope of the employee resource groups.
  • Outline core activities and business functions, such as hiring, engagement, and employee retention. 
  • Coordinate with department leaders and other vested stakeholders.
  • Set operating budgets (if applicable) and time commitments.  

Giving ERGs authority and legitimacy can help build valuable connections with people from different backgrounds. Plus, members of ERGs can act as moderators that usher collaborative solutions to conflict. 

6. How do we represent employees from underrepresented populations without tokenizing anyone?

Hiring a diverse team without tokenizing anyone depends on clarity and honesty surrounding your organization’s DEI goals and decision-making process. You must interact in an authentic way with underrepresented populations.

To interact authentically, seek out individuals that add value to your organization, not individuals that satisfy an initiative. By building your team with this distinction in mind, you create a work environment where people are happy.

7. How do you proactively source candidates from underrepresented communities?

Our modern world makes it incredibly easy to source diverse talent and expand potential candidates. Several popular tools that inclusive leaders use to discover top talent include: 

  • The “People Also Viewed” option on LinkedIn.
  • Review and respond to company reviews, both positive and negative. 
  • Browse underrepresented groups through platforms like Reddit, GitHub, or social media.
  • Utilize Slack and Discord communities.
  • Optimize job descriptions and requisition posts for diversity and inclusion. 

Of course, you should always consider question six and seek individuals who will add value to your company, not meet an initiative quota. 

Strengthen DEI Initiatives in Your Organization with CoachDiversity

Countless webinars and podcasts feature experts who receive numerous questions regarding diversity, equity and inclusion. Awareness of and understanding the answers experts give is an invaluable asset to building a diverse and inclusive workplace culture. 

An essential component of success involves the support of others. That’s why CoachDiversity built an extensive catalog of training programs businesses use to supercharge their DEI initiatives. Book a training program for your workplace teams today and start making a noticeable difference!